Incidence and severity of electric scooter related injuries after introduction of an urban rental programme in Vienna: a retrospective multicentre study

Arch Orthop Trauma Surg. 2021 Jul;141(7):1207-1213. doi: 10.1007/s00402-020-03589-y. Epub 2020 Aug 27.

Abstract

Purpose: Electric scooters (e-scooters) are an emerging way of mobility in cities around the world. Despite quickly rising numbers of e-scooters, limited studies report on incidence and severity of e-scooter-associated injuries. The aim of our study was to report on these injuries and identify potential protective measures to ultimately decrease e-scooter-associated morbidity.

Methods: We performed a retrospective multicentre study including all patients, who were admitted to three major trauma departments in Vienna from May 2018 to September 2019. We analysed patients' data, including demographics, injury pattern, types of injury and subsequent treatment.

Results: A total number of 175 patients (115 males, 60 females) sustained e-scooter-associated injuries. Patients' mean age was 34.4 years [4-74]. While the mean Injury Severity Score (ISS) was 3.4, 11 patients presented with an ISS ≥ 9 and 2 patients with an ISS ≥ 16. ISS increased with age. Older patients (≥ 40 years) presented a significantly higher ISS than younger patients (< 40 years) (P = 0.011). Seventy-one patients (40.6%) sustained major injuries affecting head (35.2%) and upper extremities (36.6%). Twenty-three patients (13.1%) required surgery leading to hospitalization of 11 days on average [1-115]. E-scooter-associated injuries increased during late afternoon plateauing at 8.00 pm. However, the largest share of patients (39.2%) sustained their injuries during early night (8.00 pm to 1.59 am) with especially young adults (19-39 years) being at risk.

Conclusion: The popularity of rideshare e-scooters across cities worldwide seems to be on the rise, so are e-scooter-associated injuries. These injuries should be considered high-energy trauma affecting primarily head and upper extremity; indeed, 17.7% sustained major head injuries. Therefore, the mandatory use of a helmet seems to be adequate to decrease head injury-associated morbidity. Ultimately, given the remarkably high rates of nighttime injuries, an e-scooter ban during night could further cut injury numbers in half.

Keywords: Electric scooter; Emergency department; Epidemiology; Fracture; Head injury; Injury pattern; Injury prevention; Injury severity; Retrospective study; Scooter share; Trauma; Trend sport.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / statistics & numerical data*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Austria / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Head Protective Devices
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Injury Severity Score
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Vehicles
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Young Adult